Sarah C's Blog Post
Wheel of Fortune has always been a family event. We would leave the dinner table when we heard the call: “WHEEEEEEL OF FORRRRTUNE.” My two daughters, Mary and Kathleen, and I decided to give a shot at applying to be contestants. We wrote a script and filmed a 90 second video to submit with our applications online. It worked; we auditioned in New York City.
Kathleen was selected to be on last season’s college week. Mary, my son, Jimmy and my nephew, Nicky, and I were in the audience to support her. She proudly represented the University of Notre Dame and our family and won cash and a trip to Aruba. She made it to the final round so we got to do our waves from the audience before the puzzle. My mother, the children’s beloved Tutu (grandmother in Hawaiian – we’re not Hawaiian, but that’s another story) was anxious to see Kathleen’s episode air. She, however, died four days before the show aired.
I was selected to be on this season. As I waited to get the e-mail with my taping date, the big question loomed – what adjective to use to describe my husband. All avid fans know that you describe your spouse with an apt adjective. I would joke with my husband and tell him I had decided it would be “lucky” (he’s lucky to have me as a wife), “a man of great judgment” (again – picked me as a wife), or “absent” (he wasn’t going to make the trip to CA – no, this was never in serious contention). I finally decided on two – “love of my life” and “supportive” – for he is both of those two. Of course, he would have to wait until watching the show to find out.
The e-mail came with the tape date. It was the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. I thought about how she loved watching Wheel and that would be a great way to spend the day thinking of her being with me.
The day came and our “Wheel of Fortune” crew (Mary, Jimmy, Kathleen, and Nicky) assembled in California. The challenge was to do well enough to make it to the bonus round so the crew could make it on TV. The day of the taping was amazing. The staff went above and beyond in pumping us up while helping us keep our cool! Jackie, Alex, Shannon and Teddy reminded us of the rules and gave us helpful hints, such as if there is still a single vowel lit on the board – it’s in the puzzle!! Sandy, the hairdresser, and Kimber, the make-up artist did such a great job. I haven’t been fussed over like that since my wedding day, 34 years ago.
The taping of the show was the fastest 20-some minutes ever. I didn’t get the first toss-up, but my confidence was boosted when I got LANSING MICHIGAN for the category On The Map for the second toss-up. Thanks to my 5th/6th grade teacher for making us memorize state capitals. I became a little gun (spin) shy after getting a bankrupt in the first round, but still nervously spun for one more letter even when I knew the puzzle.
During the prize puzzle, I solved it without spinning - something we smirk at while watching in our living room. I had my eye on the goal – getting to take a fabulous trip and making it to the bonus round so my crew could be seen on TV. Fortunately, the prize puzzle and solving the third toss-up did this for me. I got to introduce the family. I heard a gasp when I introduced Jimmy as “my favorite son.” It’s a running joke between us – he’s my only son.
If the fastest 20-some minutes was the taping of the show – the fastest 10 seconds is the bonus round. I think with just a few more seconds, I could have guessed it, I was only missing one word. Alas, I didn’t, but the excitement was not over, I got to have the final chat with Pat and Vanna at the end of the show. What did we talk about? Pat’s joke (he told a joke during his banter with Vanna), where we would we celebrate, and how great the staff was at making it a great experience.
We’re hoping that Mary someday gets on the show and makes it to the bonus round – and solves it! Her crew will be there, supporting her all the way!